• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

From a reading of Jane Austen's short stories what do we learn about women's lives in the late eighteenth century?

Extracts from this document...


From a reading of Jane Austen's short stories what do we learn about women's lives in the late eighteenth century? Jane Austen's collection of short stories, "Love & Friendship", give a developed insight into the lives of women of the "genteel" society in the late eighteenth century. The stories, written in epistolary describe the characteristics and mannerisms that were true to women of this particular time period. The letters, exchanged between friends, illustrate the main aspects of life familiar to Jane Austen and women of a similar class to herself. She incorporates her personal opinion into the stories by demonstrating techniques such as tactful humour and undisputed irony of the lifestyle that surrounded her, day after day; thus provoking her to use satire and exaggeration to portray the lives of women as shallow, vein and pre occupied by insignificant priorities. It is evident that marriage is a vitally important and significant part of women's lives in the late eighteenth century to the point of being almost obsessive. Mary displays her view early on in the first letter by writing, "I hardly know how to value it enough". Marriage is rarely the result of a loving relationship but because women of this era are solely dependant on their husbands and fathers; therefore their lives are forced to revolve around marriage. ...read more.


However the future for most girls was completely out of their hands, their mothers would usually plan every aspect of their life, until they married and their husband would replace them as the main figure of authority in their life. A mother would organise her daughters' introduction into public, which would be undisputable, "Tomorrow Mr Stanly's family will meet them, on Tuesday we shall pay morning visits, on Wednesday we are to dine at Westbrook," and so on. The mother also seems to have a strong input in the decision of who her daughters shall marry, as Mrs Stanhope expresses adamantly, "If Mary won't have him Sophy must, and if Sophy won't Georgiana shall." This gives the reader a sense that women's choices in life were very limited and most decisions were made for them. Jane Austen portrays the lot of a married woman to seem quite unappealing and not particularly enjoyable. Mr Watts for example makes it clear that none of Mary's wish's, no matter how affordable they may be, will not be granted and she will have no rights within the marriage, "You had better discard them before you marry, or you will be obliged to do it afterwards." There is no sign on an equal partnership in the marriage. It is debatable whether marriage makes women happy, however if it does succeed in doing so it is for the wrong reasons. ...read more.


The reader cannot help buy smile at the language used to exaggerate how ridiculous and over the top Louisa sounds. This characteristic is a result of women's restrainment from the real world and issues around them. Austen uses the language and techniques in the stories to shock and warm others in a similar position to step back and take an overview of their own lives before they become the next Mary Stanhope or Louisa Lutterell. The general image of women's lives in the late eighteenth century has been depicted as shallow and vein with petty priorities. Their lives are pre-occupied with marriage for the wrong reasons, they are not given a proper education, their status is one of the most important aspects of their life, friendships are false and usually have a hidden agenda and women are so concealed from the world around them that they have no real understanding of emotions. Consequently, their personality is quite understandable reflecting the way they have been bought up and the life they have been born into. Jane Austen's use of witty humour and sharp wit, exaggerating the characteristics of women in this time period, not only makes very enjoyable reading but gives the reader a good impression of her own opinion and attitude to women's lives. ?? ?? ?? ?? Georgi Cameron ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Jane Austen essays

  1. From a reading of Jane Austens Short stories, What do we learn about ...

    For young women in the Eighteenth Century it was probably found a very fortunate bonus if you were to marry someone you happened to find attractive or be in love with them. In the Late Eighteenth Century the most common reason for marriage was money and possessions - they were everything.

  2. What does Jane Austen’s ‘The Three Sisters’ show us about the lives of women ...

    Austen sees Mary as a weak person, a caricature. Mary is exactly what Austen is trying to fight against in her stories. The repetition of indecisiveness emphasises this weakness and creates a firm message to the reader. Mary thinks of Mr Watts as the worst person in the world that she could ever marry but is still considers marriage:

  1. From a reading of Jane Austen(TM)s short stories what do we learn about women(TM)s ...

    fine lace, and an infinite number of the most fine jewels...must always let me do just as I please and make a very good husband." This shows us all the things she expects to get in marring him they are all but one material goods.

  2. Explore in detail how Elizabeths views and actions are not of a Typical Regency ...

    attempts to interfere in Bingley's relationship with Jane, and his false assumptions of Wickham. Darcy's proposal was an unexpected one for Elizabeth and she was in quite a shock as in chapter 3; at the Netherfield ball, he showed no interest in Elizabeth.

  1. Jane Austen's presentation of Emma as an unlikeable heroine

    '...and her inclination for good company and power of appreciating what was elegant and clever...' Austen is suggesting that Emma feels that she is good company and elegant and clever therefore praising herself by discussing what Harriet appreciates in a person.

  2. Show the importance of Jane Austen's letters in

    her heart on her sleeve and whilst seeming as kind and honourable as ever, she showed no public displays of affection. "If I have wounded your sister's feelings, it was unknowingly done, and though the motives which governed me may to you very naturally appear insufficient, I have not yet

  1. The Rocking Horse Winner - Coroner's Inquest

    Coroner Well, Mr Bassett I am just trying to establish the relationship between you and the Darcy's. Also I need to find out the relationship between Paul and Mrs Darcy before Paul became ill. [Mrs Darcy is a beautiful woman and always dresses immaculately.] Mrs Darcy We had a wonderful relationship.

  2. The ideas of marriage and the roles of women are very closely linked, compare ...

    mother had paid 500 rupees for a new wife so Manak could have children. Guleri heard about this while she was away, as a result she drenched herself with kerosene and set herself on fire. That's why the story is called 'Strench Of Kerosene'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work